Are You Over Exercising? The Best Workouts for Your Body Type

Exercise is one of the most beneficial things for the human body. It can relieve stress, boost metabolism, and release all kinds of feel-good hormones that keep your mind and body sharp. But while you’re focusing on training harder, faster, and more intensely, taking it too far can actually result in over exercising, which spells trouble for your health and can sabotage your goals. 

Find out the best kind of workout for your body type, when to go for the hardcore sweat sesh, and when to take it easy.

Is Over-Exercising Even Possible?

Yes–it’s very possible to take your exercise too far, and actually end up doing more harm than good with your workout routine. While recommendations for physical activity differ, about 180 minutes per week, or 40-50 minutes a few times per week is generally a happy medium to maintain healthy muscle and reduce your overall risk of death.

But over exercise happens when your activity is either too intense or too long in duration, preventing your body from properly recovering. This can completely stall progress on weight loss goals, and make you more prone to injury and hormonal imbalance. Here are some red flags to look for to avoid the complications of over exercising.

Signs You’re Over-Exercising

  • Fat gain, especially around the belly
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Decreased stress tolerance
  • Anxiety
  • Immune weakness (getting sick more often, staying sick longer)
  • Prolonged muscle soreness

One of the biggest problems with over training is chronically elevated cortisol. This can trigger hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, and make it hard to lose weight.

Related: Trouble Losing Weight? Time for a holistic liver detox.

When Cortisol Goes Up, Progress Comes to A Halt 

Both weight loss and strength gain suffer when your body is under too much stress, and this goes for over exercising too. If you train excessively, you’re more likely to have chronically elevated cortisol levels (1). And when cortisol levels increase, it causes a myriad of uncomfortable side effects including irregular periods, weight gain, and fatigue.

Over training can also cause adrenal fatigue, or dysfunction in the HPA axis, which controls your body’s hormone production and stress response (2). When this happens, it creates a cascade of hormonal imbalances, and it can be very difficult and time consuming to restore balance in the adrenals. 

Read more: Adrenal Fatigue in Women. 7 Signs You’re on The Road to Burnout

How to Exercise for Your Body Type

Exercising for your body type involves two basic things: listening to your body, and identifying your individual characteristics. 

You can find the right kind of physical activity for your type by using your Power Type. We’ll look at your hormonal health, physical health, and your emotional wellbeing to figure out which type of exercise can maximize your results, whether it’s weight loss, maintenance, or an increase in strength and performance. 

What’s a Power Type?

Your Power Type is a combination of your physical, emotional, hormonal, and mental characteristics. The 5 unique Power Types are Boss Lady, Gypsy Girl, Earth Mama, Savvy Chick, and Nightingale.

The Power Type approach to holistic wellness goals aims to tailor food, movement, self-care, and even beauty routines to your specific type. While you may move through more than one type depending upon changes in your life, your Power Type will uncover patterns about how to best support a healthy weight, hormone balance, and emotional wellbeing.

>>Find your Power Type here

Which Type of Exercise is Right for Your Type?

High Intensity – HIIT, spin classes, triathlons, Crossfit

Most types should incorporate higher intensity exercise as only part of their overall routine–but not every single workout. Earth Mamas benefit from regular, vigorous exercise, but should still be mindful of symptoms of pushing too hard during workouts. Boss Lady types are often prone to over exercising, and should make sure to build in adequate recovery if participating in high-intensity exercise. 

During high-intensity workouts, you’re using primarily glucose for fuel, not necessarily breaking down body fat. However, an occasional high-intensity workout is effective for breaking through weight loss or performance plateaus.

If you’re having regular menstrual cycles, you’ll likely notice high intensity workouts feel good during the first 2 weeks of your cycle. This is because the hormones estrogen and testosterone hormones are peaking, giving you more energy (3). Strength training is especially effective during this time, and anything that can get your heart pumping for a good sweat sesh.

Refuel after your workouts with protein! Watch my protein smoothie lab!

Moderate Intensity – Strength training, barre, hiking, dancing, biking

These workouts are often the goldilocks choice of physical activity–which means they’re a great idea for most types once or twice a week. 

Moderate exercise once or twice per week can help support consistent sleep for the flighty Gypsy Girl, as well as provide muscle-building benefits for Savvy Chicks, Nightingales, and Earth Mamas.

All the types benefit from increased strength and the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin when incorporating moderate intensity workouts. Generally these workouts last from 20-30 minutes 4-5 times per week.

Get more: 15 Minute Workouts to Get Ready for Summer

Low to Moderate Intensity – Yoga, outdoor activities, walking, tai chi

Boss Lady and Nightingale types benefit immensely from restorative activities like tai chi, yoga, or qigong. Recovery is key for these types. It helps lower stress hormones, and reduce inflammation that can wreak havoc on your overall health. 

Related: Is Cortisol Affecting Your Ability to Lose Weight?

Low-intensity activity may also be the most effective for fat loss. Fatty acids are the primary source of fuel during lower intensity activity (4). 

For all types, finding a low-intensity activity you enjoy doing is incredibly important for your overall health, and maintaining a healthy weight and cardiovascular health. These types of activities are what keeps you moving during your day-to-day life. They also boost recovery and allow for your muscles to repair and rebuild.

In the days leading up to your period, and during your menstrual cycle, a calming activity like yoga or tai chi is often best for reduced energy levels. Then, when energy levels return and hormones shift, you can get back to your higher-intensity workouts.

How to Listen to Your Body’s Signals

The first step in finding the right exercise for you based on your type is to learn how to listen to your body’s signals. Not feeling your best that day? Swap your Crossfit workout for a swim. About to start your period? Be gentle with your hormones and follow along a restorative yoga flow. Here’s how to interpret your body’s signals:

  • Eating habits – Have you been having sugar cravings lately, or not much of an appetite? These may be signals you need to decrease workout intensity. On the other hand, if you’re properly fueled with adequate protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber-rich carbs, you can likely sustain more intense activity.
  • Your hormones – Where are you in your cycle? Feeling PMS coming on, or are you flush with energy during ovulation? The amount of energy you have is closely linked with your hormones. 
  • Daily life – How was your sleep the night before? Are you feeling very fatigued or sore? You might need extra recovery time before you jump back into your regular routine.
  • Emotional and mental wellbeing – How is your mood? If you have increased anxiety, and uptick in depressive symptoms, or mood swings, your intense workouts may be negatively impacting your moods if you’re exercising too long or too hard.
  • Pain or soreness – Mild to moderate day-after muscle soreness is normal, but prolonged muscle soreness, or all-over achiness is a sign something’s not right. If you’re healthy and active, aches and pains might be a sign you’re overdoing it and not properly recovering.

Using Your Power Type to Meet Your Fitness Goals

In our productivity-driven world, it’s easy to think that working out harder, faster, or longer will give you the weight loss or increased strength you’re looking for. But often, the opposite is true. Avoid over exercising and find the best workout for your body type to achieve your goals faster, and still maintain your health. 

Diet and exercise recommendations are never one-size-fits all. Each body type responds differently to calorie intake, movement, and recovery activities. Identifying patterns in your individual characteristics can help you create a realistic plan and ultimately be more successful in achieving your goals.